Welcome back to The Drill. In a week full of stories of triumph and tragedy, only five have made the cut. Here’s the huge headlines from the last seven days of sports:
m>Howard Hurt, Done For Season – The drama that has been the Dwight Howard story in Orlando has apparently reached its end for 2012, as the six-time All-Star will have surgery on a herniated disk in his back that will require him to miss the rest of the season. Although it sounds cruel to say considering the fact that Howard is undoubtedly the Magic’s best player, this is probably the best scenario for head coach Stan Van Gundy as the team prepares for the playoffs. Rumors have been swirling over the last month regarding the relationship between head coach and player, to the point where some had speculated Howard would voluntarily sit out the rest of the season to basically protest his coach, and ridding the cause of the rumors for even a small amount of time will give the team a better chance of staying focused and fighting for a title, which would be the team’s first in franchise history. No one ever roots for an injury to a star in the league, but Howard’s problems may give Stan Van Gundy the chance to coach without interruption and give the Magic’s front office clear evidence to why they should let Stan the Man return in 2012-2013.
Valentine Vents on Youkilis – A slow start to the Boston Red Sox’s 2012 season went from bad to worse earlier this week, as new manager Bobby Valentine criticized All-Star third baseman Kevin Youkilis, saying that the thirty-three-year-old doesn’t seem “as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason”, drawing heat from nearly everyone that has even a fathom of understanding in regards to a baseball clubhouse. As if calling out Youkilis wasn’t bad enough, Valentine’s words seem to have caused at least a portion of his players to side with their teammate, as Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia said that Youkilis “plays as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen in my life” and that he doesn’t quite comprehend what his manager is trying to do. The Red Sox are currently sitting at 4-9 with four straight losses in a row, signaling that Bobby Valentine himself might just join Pedroia in the group of those who aren’t sure what the big boss in Boston is attempting to accomplish.
Moyer Makes History – Colorado Rockies pitcher Jamie Moyer made history on Tuesday, as the former World Series winner gave up six hits and just two runs in seven innings en route to a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres, making Moyer the oldest pitcher in MLB history to earn a win at 49 years and 150 days old. The win is just part of what has been a feel-good year for Moyer so far in 2012, as the former Phillies starter looked slated for AAA before the season started but turned some heads thanks to an impressive performance in spring training. It will be interesting to see if Moyer is able to keep up this good start to the season through September, because if he does the media will be clamoring for the Sellersville, Pennsylvania native to earn Comeback Player of the Year and the Rockies’ fans will be gearing up for a run in the playoffs.
Summit Steps Down – After three weeks of anticipation, the news that fans of women’s basketball feared were revealed, as Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt announced that she was stepping down after spending thirty-eight seasons as Lady Vols head coach. Summitt, who won 8 national championships and 1,098 games in her time in Knoxville, will serve as head coach emeritus to new head coach Holly Warlick, who played under Summitt and spent 27 seasons as an assistant at the school. While Summitt still plans on being a part of the team in her new role, which requires her to report to athletic director Dave Hart, and will probably still be seen from time to time cheering her former players on from the stands, it is clear that the days of coaches will the caliber that Pat Summitt had are becoming noticeably fewer and fewer.
Celtics Nearly Cleaned House? – As the NBA inches closer and closer to the start of the 2012 playoffs, questions about age being an issue for the Boston Celtics begin to intensify. It appears that even the team has taken notice of the old school squad, as multiple sources are reporting that Boston was close to completing deals that would have sent both Ray Allen and Paul Pierce out of town before the deadline. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics were prepared to send Allen to Memphis for O.J. Mayo and a draft pick (some have said head coach Doc Rivers even called Allen to inform him of such a move) and Pierce to the Nets for Mehmet Okur and a lottery pick. It isn’t clear the validity of these reports, but you can bet another early exit from the postseason will result in a roster shakeup conducted by general manager Danny Ainge, a strategy that he has proven over the years he is not afraid to employ.
Sports Quote of the Week
“I made a choice early in my career to challenge myself to step up my game each and every day. You can be sure I will take this same attitude into my new role as head coach emeritus and continue to teach our players the same commitment. I can promise you ladies I’m here for you. Trust me that that will happen.” – Pat Summitt, former Tennessee women’s basketball head coach at her press conference announcing her retirement on Thursday.